On June 18, 2012 by constance

M Y – C H I L D H O O D

I have always been partial to a cup of tea.

In fact, one of my earliest memories is of giving up sugar in my tea for Lent when I was three years old. Tea drinking played a central role in my childhood.

There was never a specific ritualistic tea time, when tea was actually served in my home; the kettle was on the go and everyone drank endless cups of tea all day long. I regarded tea drinking as a very grown-up thing to do, so I got hooked very young!

M Y  F A M I L Y

There is no one as contrary as the five of us Campions about the which, how, why and what way to serve tea. My grandmother drank Poona Kandy, sent over to her in Ireland from Simpsons in Piccadilly. “A delightful tea from Northern Ceylon, that possesses a delicate, appealing flavor” . Whilst my grandfather claimed it was, in fact, Barry’s Tea from Cork, shipped over to London and re-packaged by Simpsons. My aunt told us as children, that the war was ferocious. One of the worst things for the family apparently, was the rationing of tea! By the time I was born in the 50’s, my mother and my grandparents who lived with us had elevated tea making to a ritual that was akin to the Changing of The Guard.

Although my aunt, who smoked her entire life (even though she was a physician), didn’t succumb to death until she was 87 years old, she shamefully claimed that it was the antioxidant polyphenols in tea she was addicted to, and that the cigarettes were just the chasers! She’d be chuffed to discover now that a new study has found that drinking black tea appears to reduce several risk factors for heart disease, potentially lowering the risk of heart attack and stroke. She prescribed tea to every patient who came to see her and told them to try and drink it black.

B L A C K – T E A

In the study, published in the Journal Preventive Medicine, it stated that drinking three cups of tea for 12 weeks (with no milk or sugar) led to highly significant reduction in blood sugar levels and triglycerides, which are unhealthy fats. Triglyceride levels fell by a whopping 39% in males and 29% in females. In addition, drinking tea led to an increase in levels of HDL cholesterol, long considered to be the ‘good’ type of cholesterol. It also increased blood levels of antioxidants, which can protect blood vessels and tissue against oxidative stress and inflammation. Inflammation is the root cause of all diseases, including pre-mature ageing!

O T H E R – B E N E F I T S

Black and green teas are packed with polyphenols, which are antioxidants that are associated with a wide range of health benefits. Given  that a past study also found that drinking tea can significantly reduce C-reactive Protein (CRP) levels in moderate and high risk people, we should all take drinking tea more seriously. CRP is a marker for inflammation and cardiovascular disease.

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